What is the Purpose of Chivalry today?
In the words of Michael Moore, Ph.D.:
Chivalry sets a standard of conduct that transcends era or culture. It maintains a code of conduct that traditionally upholds a practical guide to living in a changing world, and it provides discipline within an undisciplined environment. Chivalry embraces a spiritual path of personal development that combines bravery and gentleness with a fierce compassion for the welfare of others. The knight's interest and goal in life is to protect those who cannot defend, be it physical, spiritual, or economical and to fulfill a desire for personal excellence.
Many modern Knights don't do anything. The honor of Knighthood is invested in them, and then they continue on in their daily lives, except that, on occasion, such Knights will attend a dinner or banquet and wear their decorations. On the other hand, some Orders of Chivalry are considered to be "working" Orders with expectations that their Knights will participate in charity work, will attend the meetings and workshops of the Order, and will develop and live a life that expresses the tenets and beliefs of chivalry (and, for Religious Orders of Chivalry, the expectation is that the Knight will also live a religious and spiritual life).
I belong to three Knighthoods, have been made a knight on three occasions, and Patty has been knighted once. Each is considered an authentic and legitimate knightly order. And, since I cannot trace my geneology directly back to nobility, knighthood is considered the preparataory step to be accepted as a nobleman. When we conclude our affairs in Belize and I have a named estate, and as I hope to become a member of the Parliment Upper House, I will therefore need a title. However, that's a lot of work and politicing in the future.
So, can Americans be accept into knighthood?
Yes, United States citizens can accept a Knighthood. There is no law preventing the granting of Knighthood to a citizen of the United States of America, nor does the Constitution of the United States prevent the Investiture of a man or woman as a Knight (the Constitution does prevent the United States itself from granting a knightly title). American citizens can also hold valid and legitimate titles of Nobility and even Royalty. No law forbids a citizen of the USA from holding a royal or noble title.
The original Crusader Orders never admitted women. However, females began to be accepted into Orders of Knighthood as early as the 1600s, primarily because many women who were powerful nobles in their own right sought admission to the prestigious Orders of Chivalry. Several modern Orders of Chivalry accept women as Knights, but,again, the practice is not universal. Even in Orders that Invest women as Knights, the sword is not used in the "dubbing," following the tradition and historical practice that women were not battlefield warriors.
HG Lord Michael Schmickrath, Duke of Gardham, Grand Prior General of the Americas of the Imperial Order of Constantine the Great and St Helen in Pasadena, California
Imperial Order Christmas Party. The 2011 Priory Christmas party/dinner was held at a nice restaurant in Portland near our home and was attended by mamy of the Knights. The Jubitz's even drove in from Hood River with their sons Thomas and George who are also Squires. There are not many degrees or ranks in the Order. One simply serves as a Knight. Patty and I both held the rank of Knight or Dame. We both dedicate as much time and energy to the Order as we can and as is requested. I worked to stimulate the development of the Hawaiian Priory, have written a booklet on Preparation for Knighthood, am active locally and Patty creates a lot of the physical elements for the Knights and Dames including the capes, ribbon sections for the jewels worn by the ladies and officers sashes. We also travel to and attend investitures whenever we can, having traveled to Hawaii and Pasadena twice. Well, advancement in the Order is based upon service to the Order and it appears that our local Prior, John Quiroz and His Grace have decided that Patty and I are deserving of advancement and at the Christmas Party we were both awarded certificates of Advancement to the level of Knight and Dame Commander. And, they were sneaky about it. We didn't have a single clue that this was coming about. I can't tell you how surprised we were. But, they did get a photo of my shock.
Prior Sir John presents Bob with Certificate of Advancement to rank of Knight Commander.